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Police hunt sex assault suspect
7:00am Monday 13th August 2012 in News
POLICE are hunting a man who sexually assaulted a 10-year-old girl on a beach.
The father of the little girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has now urged people to be vigilant following the attack on his daughter late on Friday afternoon at Shell Bay near the Sandbanks chain ferry.
The 46-year-old dad said: “I just want people to know that there is someone out there in the area doing this. We don’t want this to happen to anyone else.”
The family from West Sussex were staying in Bournemouth and visited Shell Bay for a day trip. “We were coming towards the end of the day and the kids went off to play in the dunes to look for lizards,” he said.
“Some guy approached them – my son and daughter – at the same time. He managed to get my son away from my daughter by telling him there were lizards in a shady patch.
“He then went back to my daughter and that’s when it happened. Thankfully she pushed his hand away and then he panicked, said he was sorry and we think he pretended to take a phone call and rushed off.
“She came straight back and told us. She felt very worried about what had happened and within thirty seconds had told us.
“I rushed straight up there but he had gone. It’s probably best he had to be honest.”
The concerned father added: “They were only up there about five minutes and there were lots of people in the dunes as well.
“We hadn’t seen him before and if we had then they wouldn’t have been allowed to go off.
“Fortunately my eight-year-old son was there and that hopefully dissuaded him from doing anything else. She is fine. She is quite grown-up and knows it was not normal and that he was a pervert.
“We just thank God she was able to tell us straight away.”
The family informed the beach rangers and they immediately helped to search the area while the police were en route.
“The police and rangers were amazing”, he added.
“We feel like we were looked after really well and the way they reacted was incredible.”
The suspect aged 50 to 70, with brown hair and a harelip. He wore a green jacket and sunglasses and carried a back pack.
Investigating officer Det Sgt Neil Wright said: “We are keen to trace the suspect however it is an unusual incident in a safe part of the country.”
The beach belongs to the National Trust. A National Trust spokesman said: “We are aware of the incident which causes us some concern. The family reported it to one of our beach rangers and they advised them to contact the police.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact Bournemouth CID on 101 and ask for Detective Sergeant Neil Wright regarding incident 551 of August 10.